Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Afternoon Update

And I'm back. It was a long weekend and I apologize for no posts. Lets get moving though...

As I mentioned last Wednesday, E.J. Hradek reported that the NHL and NHLPA were working towards setting up another World Cup of Hockey, which I am all for.

Well Saturday Scott Burnside picked up more on that story, saying that the two sides have reached a handshake agreement on how the revenues will be divided up involving the World Cup, thus giving the 2011 event a green light. He also added that the NHL will be continuing to send teams to kick off the season over in Europe.

As you know I'm all for the WC of Hockey, I will now shed my opinion on sending teams to Europe. Burnside reports in that article that six teams will be sent to three European cities to kick off the 2009-2010 season, followed by eight teams to four cities the following season.

The Good? From a Business standpoint, it is great for the NHL and the individual clubs. The 2008 events in Prague and Stockholm this season were big hits and created an amazing atmosphere. Sellout crowds, international exposure, and increased media coverage are all benefits here.

The Bad? Well for the teams that travel, they lose one regular season home game, along with a preseason game or two. I would venture a guess that this upsets the hometown fans along with some sponsors, but at the same time it is very cool to be selected to represent the NHL abroad. From an on-ice standpoint, scheduling is a bit of a hassle. The 2007-2008 season kicked off with the Ducks and Kings in London at the O2 Arena, and later on in the season there was rumblings about how the Ducks were upset because they were fatigued and didn't get off to a good start in the season. I don't see that as much of an issue now, as the NHL staged the 2008 Premier earlier than the start of the regular season at home, allowing time for rest for the four teams that traveled (OTT, PIT, TB, and NYR).

Either way, I think both events are great for the league, and highlight the great sport that we all follow dearly.

More News...

Sports Business Journal once again provides a great piece on NHL Attendance and TV Ratings, which brings everyone up to speed for how the season is going. I missed this originally, but today's Puck Headlines over at Puck Daddy allowed me to catch this.

If you follow the blog, you know that in the past week I've looked at SBJ's updates on the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference about Attendance, so I won't go on repeating myself. But, SBJ did some great research into TV Ratings thus far, which are up nationally, and only down in seven markets locally. Here is the snapshot (click to enlarge):

The only real shocker to me in the change column (negatively) is Detroit. How do you win a Stanley Cup and then decline in TV Ratings? Weird.

One final thing, as I'm sort of pressed for time now...

Greg Wyshynski wrote the following in his Puck Headlines about the Sports Business Journal article describing the above:
But here's the problem: When Sports Business Journal writes that "five teams reported average attendance below 15,000 - the New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, Atlanta Thrashers, Nashville Predators and Phoenix Coyotes," we all know those numbers are remarkably generous because of the way the League counts "attendance" and because we're not blind. Stop crowing about records built on a foundation of discounts, giveaways and unused tickets.
Now don't get me wrong, I agree fully with him. I've already taken a look at who I think is lying about their attendance numbers and who is telling the truth, but lets step back for a second.

I firmly believe that the NHL is not the only league that differs their attendance from how many are present in the building and how many tickets were sold, but this isn't anything new. Therefore, I don't see this as a big deal. Why? Well, from the business point of view, if I had a job in the Marketing Department for the New York Islanders (well first I would hit myself being a Rangers fan), I wouldn't be worried about if the person that bought tickets attend the actual game, I'd be worried about getting the payment for those tickets. So, although it is slightly unethical for some teams to be doing such a thing, it is (to me) somewhat of an evil necessity for certain teams' market.

That is all I have for now, possibly more later, if not definitely tomorrow.

EDIT: a quick note...

Last Weeks Sellout Count: 25, which brings up the total this year to 330. Saturday night was a big night, with 9 out of 11 games selling out, most surprisingly the Islanders and Predators "selling" out.

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